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Congresswoman McCollum's Statement on the Telework Improvement Act

July 28, 2010
Statements For the Record

Madam Speaker, I rise in support of the Telework Improvement Act. This bill will help to modernize the Federal Government by expanding and improving the availability of teleworking in federal agencies. I thank Chairman Towns and the House leadership for their work on this legislation.

With this bill, Congress takes important steps to improve the efficiency of the Federal Government by allowing more Federal employees to have access to telework. Today, many private companies have more vigorous and flexible telework policies that result in increased efficiency and productivity. Yet telework continues to be under-utilized by Federal agencies. H.R. 1722 will require Federal agencies to develop policies within one year that allow qualifying employees to telework. This bill ensures accountability by directing the Office of Management and Budget to issue guidelines to prevent improper uses of official time or resources by those working outside the office.

Madam Speaker, I also oppose the Republican Motion to Recommit on H.R. 1722. The underlying legislation makes clear that Federal employees are strictly prohibited from visiting inappropriate websites using government computers. In addition, this motion contains a provision designed to indiscriminately and unfairly prohibit an employee from collective bargaining activities while they are teleworking. Under current law, official time for union activity may only be used to represent employees in adverse actions, attend official meetings with management, and bargain union contracts. To disallow these activities from being performed through telework would constitute a rollback of existing policy.

I urge a "no" vote on the Republican Motion to Recommit and urge my colleagues to support final passage.